Immigration: We go to St Louis where a new law is having its desired effect.
|VALLEY PARK, Mo. - A new law in the St. Louis suburb Valley Park has forced more than 20 families to leave the town, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis is helping them relocate.
An ordinance passed July 17 fines landlords $500 per violation for knowingly renting to illegal immigrants. Many of the families that have left were staying at Cheryl Lane Apartments. Some left so quickly they didn't take their furniture, apartment owner James Zhang told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Zhang and his apartment manager went door-to-door last week, telling residents that if they weren't in the country legally, they needed to move out. Of his 48 units, 20 are now empty, said Zhang, noting that the fine is more than the $450 he charges for monthly rent.|
In Chi-town, the newest immigration idol is sorta wearing out her welcome even for her supporters.
|Elvira Arellano came to this country from Mexico seeking a better life, but she came here illegally. For five years, she lived fairly anonymously, like millions of other illegal immigrants. She worked as a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport until she was arrested in 2002 during a post-Sept. 11 security sweep at the nation's airports.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security gave Arellano, 31, a deadline for deportation. Instead of reporting to homeland security by 9 a.m. Tuesday, though, she took refuge in Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. She has said she will stay in the church indefinitely, in pure defiance of immigration authorities. They say they have the legal right to arrest her in the church and will do so at a time of their choosing.
Arellano is hardly anonymous now. In fact, she has become something of a local symbol for those who most ardently believe U.S. immigration law is patently unfair.
That doesn't mean her example is helpful to their cause. It is not.
Arellano was arrested and deported once before and re-entered the country illegally. She was found to have used a fake Social Security number to work.
And yet she has benefited from some extraordinary political support, which few illegal immigrants get to enjoy. She won the help of members of the Illinois congressional delegation, who rallied around her because her 7-year-old son, Saul, a U.S. citizen, has ADHD and other health problems. She has been granted three stays of deportation since 2003. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) sent a letter to President Bush on Wednesday asking that Arellano be granted yet another stay.
But Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Barack Obama and others have said there is nothing more they can do for her. Because her son's condition has improved, some of those sympathetic to her cause suggest that another stay of deportation cannot be justified.
And so, she stands in public defiance of U.S. law--a symbol, as well, for those who say the only problem with immigration law is that it is not tough enough on those who violate it.|
ICE has to move in and get her because other illegals will start to use this as a method for the cause. The upside is she is so arrogant about it that she comes off as a being a bad symbol for the cause.
|Arellano remained defiant Wednesday and said if authorities want her they will have to come inside the church and get her.
"My son is a U.S. citizen," she told reporters. "He doesn't want me to go anywhere so I'm going to stay with him."
Arellano was deported shortly after illegally crossing into the United States in 1997. She returned within days, living for three years in Oregon before moving to Chicago in 2000. Arrested two years later at O'Hare International Airport, where she was working as a cleaning woman, she was convicted of working under a false Social Security number and ordered to appear at the Chicago immigration office Tuesday morning. Instead, she went to the church, where she is an active member.
But activists say things aren't that simple. They talk about her 7-year-old son, a citizen because he was born in the country. They talk about how she came here to work and provide a better life for herself and her son. They say her story highlights why they believe the nation's immigration laws must be changed.
"She is a leader in the movement who has made the issue of family unity the key issue in the question of the undocumented," Coleman said of Arellano, president of United Latino Family, a group that lobbies for families that could be split by deportation. "That is the most sympathetic issue there is."
Others aren't so sure.
"I don't think the immigration debate should be focused on a woman who ... disregards an order," said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, a Chicago attorney and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
"I do believe the discussion should be what to do when you have a situation where someone has sought legal status and waited for 7 to 10 years to be reunited with their families (as well as) the employers who can't get enough people and need to get illegal immigrants to fill their jobs."
Tapia-Ruano said she worries Arellano's story will be used by extremists on both sides of the issue.
"The risk of focusing on her particular hardship is it will be viewed as (an example) of how illegals come here to be in flagrant disregard of our laws, and I don't think that's true," she said.|